29 January 2013

Bill Gates Declares Evaluation Love

On Wednesday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will officially release Bill’s annual letter.

You can sign up here to get it yourself, or just read the Wall Street Journal op-ed published last week in which he pretty much says the same thing:

“In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal.”

No surprise here. But there’s measurement and then there is evaluation. They aren’t always the same thing.

Bill Gates loves evaluations and measuring outcomes.

His idea boils down to “setting clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach.” It is more or less what he has been doing with the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation continues to be one of the leaders in investing in evaluation-based programming. They establish an area of interest, invite people to apply with innovative ideas, put money into things of interest, require strong data and measurements and then they fund what works or can be improved.